0083 – avoid talking over people, ask questions and listen instead

I’m up and out a little earlier today, which is great. Still not as early as I’d like- I remember reading up when the sun came up at about 730ish, but I still stayed in bed. So that’s who I want to be- I want to jump out of bed at 730 all excited at the possibilities and the dawn of a new day. I think that’s a simple measurable step. It’s like the walk to the bus stop to take a bus to the airport. Or less, but still significant! So that’s something to be excited about.

I’m not sure if I should write about my facebook fast or something else. I’m thinking of “saving” that one for Poached. So let’s get meta and talk about writing in multiple channels.

Before that- I was looking at my past few vomits on my blog and thought whoa, that’s quite a lot of text.

I was always known by my friends as the guy who talks too much, who rudely interjects and interrupts everybody because he got so much to say, or because he’s ignorant and stupid, or because he’s just selfish.

I think selfishness is rarely malicious, I think it’s typically the manifestation of ignorance. Maliciousness itself is typically ignorance. I mean come on, what’s the point of being selfish or malicious or hurtful? Life is too short and harsh. We all want to be flattered, loved, respected, adored. We all want to avoid pain and suffering where possible.

But it gets complex and messy because sometimes it seems like a zero sum game. Erm… I’m lapsing into stuff I say without being fullu engaged.

I don’t think anybody actually wants to go around hurting, upsetting or offending people. We’re just needy and we want to feel valid, significant, relevant. I think I was impatient and anxious most of the time. Insecure. I probably still am.

I was thinking the other day- a friend was lamenting the fate of the polar bears. And all these thoughts came into my mind- why are you so upset about the polar bears? The earth has been through a lot worse in climatic fluctuations, there are other less cute animals in worse situations… but then I stopped and thought- why does it matter to me how he feels about polar bears? Who am I to intrude on his feelings and tell him how he ought to feel? Nobody! I just make connections in my head all the time and I feel a pressing urge to share them- perhaps as an assertion of self-worth, I must be worth something if I have something to say.

I don’t think I think that way though- I think I’ve always operated in a free-for-all, anything goes, everybody should share everything on their minds all the time kind of perspective. My dad’s quite like that. He’s very loud and brash and interrupts everyone. I grew up in that household and I grew up on internet forums where you get points for being witty and pointing out the mistakes and errors of others. But I see now how that’s a limited way of operating, a limited paradigm. Within this paradigm, if I tell you something, you’re obliged to criticize it while I defend it- that’s a good thing, it’s an honour to have someone explore my idea with me. That’s a very combative, debate-centric approach. If you interrupt me with something else altogether I’ll try to work with that- may the most important or interesting train of thought win! I think Marcus Geduld described a family like that.

My wife’s not like that, except in dire circunstances. Quite a few of my peers are not like that. Possibly most of the world isn’t like that. Most people aren’t interested in fighting all the time. They want you to listen, to interpret without interrupting. I need go learn to do that. I think I’ve made some progress over the years but there’s still a long way to go. I think Robert Greene’s 48 laws of power opened my eyes to seeing how others might view my style in a much, much more negative light than I could’ve imagined by myself. Recommend it to anybody who has the same problem as me.

That said I wanted to test the hypothesis that I talk so much because I crave social validation. It seemed so, because I was always taking to people, talking over people. I’m biased, so I like to think that there’s more to me than selfish, childish self-obsession. I like to share things that I think are genuinely interesting and valuable. An old friend told me that we had once met for dinner and he was feeling really down- I barely remember it- but apparently I had cheered him up with by talking passionately about something. Maybe I wasn’t specifically trying to help him- I was just being myself in a space where I attempt to interact with other players (in this case him) in my sphere and I had stuff to share so I shared it.

I understand that it might not be socially acceptable, desirous. That’s part of why I deactivated Facebook. I think I had gotten into this messy tangle of highly complex relationships (in the series-of-interactions sense) and I needes a reset button. I couldn’t argue on Facebook that I don’t really need Facebook. That doesn’t work no matter how eloquent the argument. Demonstration is always more powerful than rhetoric.

If it were true that all I care about is social validation then I wouldn’t still be writing this, would I? The format is deliberately inaccessible. I used to blog with linkbait headlines, complaining about the government and playing up to the crowd. In a sense this 1000 sets of 1000 vomits is a deliberate isolation. My little, feeble attempt at a sort od mini Walden.

I firmly believe that people deserve their space. They deserve the right to walk away, to say no, I’m tired, I’d rather not hang out today… I believe that I have always respected this wish in others. I hate the idea of conning or coercing someone into something through persistence and direct pressure… I’m sorry to anybody who feels like I’m abandoning them. But I’m not that important. I’m not that useful. I’m ignorant, incompetent, and I really mean it when I say I’m not worth anybody’s time. I think it’s really important to begin there. I am temporary, everything is temporary. I cannot ask anything of you. That’s that.

I have a lot of writing to do for work, some editing. It’s a little bit scary but also exciting. I tend to take longer than absolutely necessary- I’m reminded of my gig reviews for timbre rock and roots, which took me forever to write. I did all my research and learnt about all the artists, their lives and careers… I just think it’s important. If you’re going to pay tribute to something you need to understand the broader context. You need to do the reading. I truly believe that. I’d want anybody else to do the same for me.

The problem is when this clashes against deadlines and becomes an excuse to delay and procrastinate. There has to be a faster way of doing things. Rush, finish, reiterate.

reached work

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